For many people it is difficult to understand exactly where are the best cuts. In the golden days, the butcher would do most of his work at the shop’s front, but today it is all behind closed doors, except in France. The clients wait, cues get longer, as clients begin breaking off the ends of their baguette crunching their hunger.
Of course the carcasses are held in meat lockers on the premises but for the most part, the work takes place in the customer’s direct eyesight. I recall Paris, those days when we lived there in the late 90’s, and I spent endless days at Rungis. My driver at the time, a fine French fellow (Hugues) drove me umpteen times to the professional market at 03h00. We would take our smart and fly to the market from central Paris in 16 minutes. On the way back things were very different (01h00+) unless we departed the market before 07h00, which we often did.
I remember very well, there was one butcher Jean Paul Gardil, on 44 rue St. Louis en l’Ile. His display of meats and poultry were very good and the hand work kept clients in awe.The red plaques, displays the race, date, names of cut and origin.
I would find Gardils’s line-ups too long but the constellation was you could get an ice cream next door across the street at Bertillon: http://www.berthillon.fr
The other butcher who I frequented was Hugo Desnoyer, he was magical, and at the time he was a friend. But he had many a friends and he would supply the likes of Monsieur President, L’ami Louis and Severo, a small bistro nearby his shop. I cannot say I miss the Parisians, but I miss the Poulet de Bresse, truffles, fromage, etc.
Categories: Meaty Days